By Lindsey Purcell
A cell phone buzzes while you're driving home. Is it acceptable to take your eyes off the road for just a few seconds?
Cell phones are a major part of people's daily activities, including driving. As of 2018, only 16 states prohibit drivers from using handheld devices while driving. Driving while talking on the phone is dangerous for all drivers in all states, so it doesn't make sense for this to be legal. A phone takes the driver’s hand off the wheel and causes the driver to risk his/her life; therefore, handheld use of a phone while driving should be illegal in every state.
The time it takes for the driver to pick up the phone could cost the driver his or her life. According to Edgar Snyder of The National Safety Council, “Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.” Some people may say that turning on a radio takes the driver’s eyes off the road for more time than answering a phone call, but data from a myriad of studies shows many instances when cell phones have caused deadly crashes due to drivers taking their eyes off the road.
Cell phone use while driving has taken people's lives even when they weren't on their phones. According to the New York Times, a 19-year-old named Reggie Shaw crashed into two cars, killing two people. “The facts showed that Reggie had been texting — 11 texts sent and received in the minutes and seconds around the crash, maybe right at the moment of the crash, though for more than two years Reggie denied it.” If a person texts while driving, that person endangers not only his/her own life, but the lives of everyone else on the road.
Even though having laws against talking on a cellphone while driving may not stop everyone from using a cell phone while driving, it will have a more positive impact than having no laws at all. According to the NBC News, people are four times more likely to crash if they are using a cellphone. Clearly, distraction equals disaster.
People need to become more aware of the dangers of cellphone use on the road, and a ticket will certainly get a distracted driver’s attention. Ticketing will not only ensure consequences, but it will encourage drivers to be more cautious. Enforcement in all states, not just 16, can potentially save lives and make the roads safer for everyone.
Cell phones are deadly weapons that can be fatal when mixed with driving. This issue needs to be addressed seriously, and enforcement must be made mandatory.